Headlines: October 7th, 2005

Local authorities are to begin offering a series of incentives designed to persuade householders to recycle more of their rubbish. A total of 51 schemes around the country will include prize draws, cash rewards and support for communities as pilots to test the effectivenes of various approaches.The Government is hoping regular recyclers will be persuaded to do even more while people who simply throw away their waste will be persuaded to become more green. The schemes are being supported with 3.5 million pounds from Defra.Some schemes will involve incentives for individuals, ranging from payments to vouchers for local shops and leisure facilities. In other cases local councils will be trying out league tables, text messages and scratchcards. Schools and charities will also be encouraged to cash in on their efforts to recycle with whole communities also getting the chance to benefit in some areas with money being made available for local schemes and improvements.

The Local Environmental Quality Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said “Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception. While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still many families and people who have yet to start recycling regularly. We want to find new ways to encourage these people to start recycling and help regular recyclers by making it easier for them to fit recycling into their lives.”

Examples of specific schemes include the East Riding, where people will be able to sign up for text messages on the eve of their collection day, and Crewe and Nantwich where regular recyclers in social housing will be entered into a draw. In other areas the emphasis is on waste reduction, such as in the Teignbridge District where residents will be able to can win organic food boxes every week for six months if they do not throw out food waste.

Evidence from the pilot projects will contribute to the basis of future policy in this area, as well as giving guidance to other local authorities on best practice.The pilots have been designed to complement work already being done by Defra to find new ways to encourage people to recycle more and involving retailers to make it easier to recycle at supermarkets. Mr. Bradshaw said it was essential to keep up the momentum that had built up in recycling. In the last nine years recycling in England had gone from 7.5 per cent of rubbish to almost 23 per cent last year and had doubled in the last four years alone. “In order to maintain the momentum and achieve further substantial increases in recycling new approaches are needed to actively engage with the public,” the minister said.